The R&A - Working for Golf

Overseas players make their mark at the Boys Amateur Championship

Competitors from 19 nations contested the first day of match play at the Boys Amateur Championship on Thursday at Royal Birkdale, with an international mix of players progressing through to Friday's second round.

Olof Gunnarsson led the Swedish charge attempting to successfully defend the title that Oskar Bergqvist won last year at Prestwick. Gunnarsson, who helped Sweden to a silver medal at the European Boys' Team Championship in Finland last month, defeated Spain's Joel Moscatel on the first extra hole to earn his passage to the next round.

"Oskar's win here last year really made me and the other guys from Sweden realise that it is possible," said Gunnarsson, from Landeryd Golf Club. "It is great inspiration for us to know we have the chance to defend the title for Sweden.

"It was a great match today and playing here at Royal Birkdale is the best part. The condition is great and the putts rolled beautifully, but it's the history here that makes it even more fun to play knowing that we are walking in the same place where Tiger Woods and all the other great players have been."

Max Schmitt
Mas Schmitt

Gunnarsson's compatriot Marcus Svensson is also through to the next round after defeating Mexico's Luis Gerardo Garza Morfin 2&1, while Germany's Raphael Geissler, Thomas Rosenmueller and Max Schmitt (pictured), Frenchman Thomas Boulanger, Italian Guido Migliozzi and Slovenia's Zan Luka Stirn are among the other players from the Continent of Europe to move on to the round of 32.

Ten Englishmen are safely through including leading qualifier Bradley Moore of Kedleston Park. The 17-year-old Carris Trophy winner defeated Germany's Michael Hirmer on the 19th hole in a closely fought match that didn't see either player take more than a single hole advantage throughout the day.

"The first few holes Michael made quite a few long putts to halve the hole. On the 3rd I thought I could get up by one when he pulled it left, but he hacked it out and holed a 30 footer.  At that point I thought it might be one of those days," laughed Moore. "I thought he can't keep it up surely. So I just kept sticking in there. It was a great match."

Hirmer finally relented on the first extra hole after struggling to get out of a greenside bunker while Moore placed an excellent chip to four feet to secure the victory. Moore will now face Denmark's John Axelsen in Friday's round of 32 after the Dane defeated Frenchman Clement Charmasson 5&4.

Other English players to progress include Scottish Open Stroke Play winner Marco Penge (Golf at Goodwood) who fended off a charging Matthew Myers of Northamptonshire County to win by one hole, and Foxhills' Arrun Singh Brar who defeated Italy's Riccardo Bregoli 3&2.

It was a disappointing day for the Scottish players with all five bowing out in the first round including Scottish Boys' champion Will Porter from Carnoustie who fell to Ireland's Thomas Mulligan 2&1 and Cawder's Calum Fyfe who couldn't get past Rosenmueller on the 18th hole of their match. Peter Kerr from Royal Portrush is the other Irish player in the field that remains in contention after he defeated Spain's Angel Hidalgo Portillo 4&3.

Play gets under way at 7:30 am and admission and parking is free for spectators. To see a full list of match play results and tee times please click here.